Viewing: February, 2018
February 16, 2018
I’ve always loved to travel but I’ve never gotten the opportunity to do much traveling in my life. I’ve taken a few smaller trips, but not too many longer trips and definitely not too many trips to faraway places. I would have loved to do some backpacking in my youth, but I just didn’t have the money or the time.
I did take one amazing trip in my life, though. That was a trip to Asia. Back then I was still a big coffee drinker, so I loved trying great coffees in Indonesia (the main island is actually called Java!) and in Vietnam, where I tried the weasel dropping coffee.
Since I got to see several of the main countries in Asia, that means I also got to tour the biggest tea producers. I spent a week each in India, China and Japan. I know those aren’t all the tea producing countries in Asia, but those are the biggest three.
My favorite among those three tea growing nations was Japan. It is the smallest, but is by far the best to travel. It is clean, safe and everything just works. The people are also very friendly and not at all pushy. And that is one of the biggest drawbacks of the other two. The people in China and India are very pushy and even though you get some great tea there, the whole experience is marred a bit by the filth and the aggressiveness of the people.
Even the tea, although it can be amazing, is not always that great. There are a lot of scammers who will sell you very low quality tea and try to get a very high price for it. That is a big problem. You can never really trust a label or a store in China or India. Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can easily end up drinking bad tea. Luckily, I know how to recognize good quality tea leaves, so I could catch it when they tried to sell me crap. Many people can’t and end up drinking bad tea.
In Japan you do not have this problem that is why it was my favorite country for traveling and also for drinking tea. It was also the best place for touring tea plantations. I took tea plantation tours in all the countries, but only in Japan did I feel like they actually enjoyed having me there, apart from just wanting my money.
The other countries just wanted me to pay and they gave me a standard tour and then tried to sell me souvenirs and overpriced, low quality tea. In Japan they took the time to explain everything and really show me around their tea gardens. They even took me indoors and showed me their tea growing operation there and they also showed me their outdoor operation.
They even showed me some areas where they were using grow lights, which, as you know, is something I’m very interested in, at the moment. I’ve gotten into growing tea with grow lights indoors myself, so I really enjoyed seeing that in Japan. They really only do it to start seedlings. In this case they were using fluorescent grow lights, but I’ve heard of other farms using LED grow lights as well. Either way, just the fact that they did this was highly interesting to me. It’s another reason why really loved touring the Japanese tea gardens most of all.
I really wish I could’ve done more traveling, but this one trip was pretty amazing. I know a lot of people don’t ever get to take even one trip like this, so I do feel very lucky. I got to try some of the best coffee and some of the best tea in the world. I do still hope to make it to Africa someday, mainly for the music, but they also grow a ton of tea in Kenya.
If you are one of the other lucky people that get to take trips, and you ever find yourself in one of these Asian countries, definitely take a tour of a tea growing region. Even in China and India, the tours are pretty good and very informative. They just pale in comparison to the ones in Japan, that is all.